LGBTQ+ in Russia : Facing Challenges, Activism, and Rising Hostility

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LGBTQ+ challenges in Russia

The LGBTQ+ community in Russia facing challenges Amidst increasing hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community in Russia, many activists have chosen to remain in the country. Euronews interviewed several of these brave individuals to understand their experiences and challenges.

The role of Centre-T in supporting the trans community

Centre-T, located in Saint Petersburg, is a major organization that assists the transgender community in Russia by providing medical care, hormonal treatments, and support to those looking to leave the country. With the recent approval of a law in Moscow restricting gender-affirming care and other rights for transgender individuals, Centre-T has seen a surge in requests for help. The organization had to expand its volunteer base to handle the growing demand.

Threats and challenges faced by activists

Centre-T has had to face numerous challenges, including being labeled as a foreign agent, leading to many bureaucratic hurdles and potential sanctions. Additionally, there have been attempts to block access to the organization’s website. Despite these challenges, many volunteers, like Sof, remain committed to the cause. Sof shared that while the risks are real and ever-present, the desire to help the community outweighs the fear.

Aleksei’s dedication to the cause

Another activist, Aleksei, has been advocating for LGBTQ+ rights for over a decade. His organization, the Alliance of Heterosexuals and LGBT for Equality, has also been labeled as a foreign agent. This designation has significantly impacted the organization’s operations, but Aleksei remains steadfast in his commitment to the community. He believes that staying in Russia and supporting those who cannot leave is crucial.

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Rise of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment

Lately, there has been a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Russia. Examples include the expulsion of a student for posting makeup videos, the arrest of a queer YouTuber, and the expulsion of a German teacher for promoting “non-traditional sexual relations”. Aleksei warns that anyone can be targeted in the current climate.

International perspective on LGBTQ+ rights

Outside of Russia, other countries have also implemented laws limiting the expression of LGBTQ+ identities. Hungary and certain regions of Poland have introduced restrictive measures, while Uganda has passed a law that could lead to the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. Graeme Reid from Human Rights Watch points out that while these laws target a specific minority, their implications are broad and threaten the rights of all citizens.

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